A memory lost in time....

A memory lost in time....

  Published to Your Stories on Oct 25, 2018

Louise Bentley had a bitter-sweet shock when an undiscovered photograph of her beloved father appeared on a Facebook group.

I often think about how as humans we view the ‘everyday’ as a mundane, monotonous routine we have just found ourselves in... Wake up, go to work, go shopping, make tea, watch telly, and go to bed.

We look forward to the big days out, the special occasions and holidays that we book to escape that ‘everyday’ so we can enjoy ourselves and make memories.

When I was 10 years old, my Dad was diagnosed with cancer of the liver, the cancer rapidly spread and unfortunately the tumours were too large and the cancer too far spread to operate. Dad was told he would have 6-9 months to live. We shared 10 months with him after his diagnosis, and he fell asleep in May 2002 at the Bolton Hospice with his family and friends at his bed side.

16 years have passed since I lost my Dad; he didn’t like to have his photo taken much so there are very few photos of us together. Losing my Dad at a young age meant that I didn’t get to share those big moments with him, those milestones; my first day of secondary school, starting college, my first job, he won’t be there to give me away on my wedding day, be a Grandfather to my children, or be there to see them reach their milestones.  None of my memories of him are of those typical momentous occasions we tend to relate with significant memories of times with a loved one.

However, in the past few years my view on the ‘everyday’ has changed drastically. The ‘everyday’ is life, it’s what you make it and it’s filled with happiness and love. It gets taken for granted but it holds the potential for so many memories.

When I think of Dad, I think of… holding his hand inside his coat sleeve to keep mine warm, sitting on the top stair at night time waiting for him to call me back down to let me watch one more episode of my favourite programme before I had to go to bed, his proud smile when I came home with a certificate from school, or sitting down on a Saturday morning and drawing and painting together.

The ‘everyday’ at Bolton Hospice is truly wonderful. The work, care and commitment that makes the day to day running of every single aspect of the hospice is both greatly needed and hugely appreciated by anyone and everyone who has a personal experience with them.

My family and I couldn’t be more grateful for all the hospice did for not only our Dad to make the end of his life as comfortable and peaceful as possible, but also to help us as his family with a situation that is completely incomprehensible until you are actually faced with it. Nothing can prepare you for what is about to come but the staff at the hospice help ease that pain and offers support and comfort when it‘s truly needed.

Every day the staff at the Hospice offer care and kindness. They are truly wonderful, and if that is the standard of their ‘everyday’, then the ‘everyday’ is pretty remarkable.

We take the every day for granted and it's the little things that seem so unimportant at the time that are the strongest memories I have left of my Dad now and the hold the greatest significance.

My sister is a member of the Facebook group 'I belong to Bolton' and a photo appeared on her timeline; the photo was of Bolton town centre and just people going about their days, shopping. Then my sister noticed that in the photo to the left, was me and my Dad holding hands going about our daily lives. She sent it to me and I instantly burst into tears as I just couldn't process what I was seeing, so I wrote the following and posted it on the 'I belong to Bolton' page...

Impossible to reproduce
A moment that's gone forever
A moment I didn't know existed
A moment spent together

A little girl, maybe five
No sadness, grief or hate
Holding on, filled with love
That moment captured is fate

I'm scared I've forgotten you
How you move and how you sound
The way you made my World complete
But a little piece feels found

Something that seems so mundane
So normal and 'every day'
But I feel completely overwhelmed
To see us in that way

I've seen all of our posed photos
A collection that couldn't increase
But I have a new one now
And I've found a missing piece

See, I have a sort of puzzle
It's of memories of you
And the longer it exists
The colours fade, parts are missing too

Like shopping with my Daddy
Holding hands as we walk
You buying me a little treat
And me listening as you talk

It's easy to forget things
Things that seem so 'every day'
But 'every day' is under-rated
When 'every day' just fades away

Written in tribute to my Dad, Joe Bentley who passed away on 7th May 2002 peacefully at Bolton Hospice.

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